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Wildlife-related accidents increase during fall season

Daylight saving time ended in Louisiana and around the country on Nov.5. This means that motorists will now be making their afternoon commutes as darkness descends. Accident rates tend to be higher during the early evening, and this is particularly true in November when drivers are getting used to fewer daylight hours and wildlife is especially active. The Colorado Department of Transportation reports that wildlife collisions surge each November, but there are steps that drivers can take to protect both animals and other motorists.

The annual fall clock change occurs during peak mating season for many animals found in Louisiana. Deer are particularly active in the fall, and even bears tend to show themselves more often as they gather food for hibernation in November and December. Motorists can avoid wildlife-related accidents if they reduce their speeds, remain alert and pay close attention to traffic signs.

Moderate speeds give motorists more time to take evasive action should an animal step into the path of traffic. While animal collisions rarely result in human fatalities, they can cost thousands of dollars in property damage. When an animal is spotted, drivers should sound their horns and flash their lights. Doing this warns other drivers about the hazard and could startle the animal and deter it from entering the roadway.

While seeking to save a life may be a laudable goal, motorists who swerve to avoid striking an animal may face lawsuits and even criminal sanctions when their emergency maneuvers result in far more serious car accidents. When pursuing this type of litigation on behalf of accident victims, personal injury attorneys could seek compensation for property damage, lost income and medical expenses.

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